Up to 500 small and medium sized businesses in the Liverpool city centre Enterprise Zone could benefit from funding to help with the set up costs of superfast broadband.
A report to the council’s Cabinet on Friday 4 July is recommending the acceptance of £1.5 million from the Government’s Super Connected Cities Voucher Scheme.
It gives SMEs up to £3,000 towards the capital costs of a super/ultra-fast broadband connection to cover capital and equipment costs of getting a better, faster connection to businesses.
It is being implemented as part of a national drive to provide a much better service of superfast broadband.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “I want Liverpool to be the best digitally connected city in the UK. We have a long road ahead to achieve this but this scheme is a major leap in taking the city’s economy to the next level.
“We are competing on a global stage and investment in our digital infrastructure is a real priority for the city.”
The city council is working with Liverpool Commercial District Business Improvement District (BID) on the scheme, and they will ensure all eligible businesses in the Enterprise Zone in the city centre have the opportunity to apply.
The council is in discussions with Central Government to encourage it to expand the scheme to parts of the city centre not covered by the Enterprise Zone.
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, said: “This broadband scheme is a game changer for the Enterprise Zone in Liverpool city centre.
“It’s going to make a huge impact to the efficiency and productivity of businesses and make Liverpool an even more attractive place to do business.
“This goes to the heart of our plans to support our members by improving their working environments.”
The voucher can be used towards the cost of making the physical connection to business premises but cannot pay for monthly rental or for any IT equipment.
The connection needs to give a real change in service speed – upgrading to a minimum of 30Mbps on a shared line or 20Mbps on a dedicated business grade line.
The city centre Enterprise Zone covers the waterfront and key parts of the Commercial BID including Old Hall Street, Tithebarn Street, Dale Street and Leeds Street.